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Topic: Bivy, How do I use it< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
appalachianmatt Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2014, 11:51 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So I am trying to go ultralight, and I am thinking of a shelter. I think a bivy looks like an interesting option, but I have questions before spending money on one.

First of all, what is the best in terms of price and performance?

Also, where would my pack go? There obviously isn't room in the shelter, so would I leave it outside under a pack cover or what?

Third, is there any way that they are anchored to the ground, or does it just use your weight to keep it in place?

Last, I would like to know if anyone has any other really important ideas, tips, or factors that would influence my decision to go with a bivy instead of my Hennessy Hammock or purchasing a tarp tent etc.
Thanks!
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ambrose Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2014, 10:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A tent like this might work? I know, it cost a lot...

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vinovampire Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2014, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think of bivy sacks as part of a shelter systems when using tarps. Having a bivy allows you to use a smaller tarp and can offer bug protection. My bivy has bug netting over the face and protects from spray when it's raining. I have a small tarp and thin ground cloth with me too.

If you have any more questions, ask away!
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AlmostThere Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2014, 10:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are two types of bivy - the fully weatherproof type for mountaineers that needs no tarp or extra shelter, and the sleeping bag cover intended to be used with a tarp. The mountaineering bivy is made of heavy waterproof breathable fabric and can weigh more than ultralight tents. The sleeping bag cover type can weigh mere ounces, but you also need to have a tarp.

Bivies are of no use to me - I have no interest in a shelter that doesn't let me sit up and move about while riding out a storm. The hammock and tarp I have is heavier but it's gotten me through a 14 hour rainstorm comfortably, boiling water, sitting up to read, even drying clothes on the ridgeline. The solo tent I have kept all my gear dry through an hour and a half deluge in the high country with water sheeting down granite and turning into a river that eroded the soil underneath it. I can't put my gear in a bivy sack, nor can I do anything but lay there in the rain.

Zpacks, Six Moon Designs, Lightheart Gear, perhaps a 'mid or a Tarptent - all have options for shelters that weigh less than a Goretex bivy.


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cweston Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2014, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can definitely go ultralight with a tent, if that's what you prefer. Others have already listed some brands to look at. The big drawback is that ultralight gear tends to be more expensive than "standard" gear.

I have never considered myself an ultralighter, but now that I'm in my 50s and my back is a little less stable than it used to be, I'm finding it really beneficial to cut ounces wherever possible.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2014, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As the others have noted, a weatherproof bivy is typically as heavy (or heavier) than a UL tent, but offers much less usable space.
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tomas Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2014, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Add me to the others suggesting you get a tent instead. You get more space, you can actually live in it comfortably for a day or three in case of bad weather, and a UL tent weighs about the same.

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GottaGamble Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2014, 1:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

for 3 seasons in the NE new york I use bear paw Wilderness bug bivy, it weighs about 10 ounces..if it rains I will pitch my tarp..MLD patrol Shelter(cuben), that weighs about 7 ounces if I remeber correctly. In the winter I will swap out the bug bivy and use a Katabatic bristlecone bivy..same idea< if its snowing or raining I will pitch the patrol shelter over it for protection. I get all the space I need, I stay dry all the time it weighs about 1 pound, it sets up in seconds and breaks down in seconds, I can sleep anywhere I desire also. I pretty much enjoy hiking most of the day and use this system for sleeping..so bad weather doesnt bother me because I will hike during daylight hours through the rain and what not. When I'm ready to make camp I do so..if its raining I can pitch the tarp first and all my gear stays dry. same thing early in the morning, when I wake up I can pack up everything under the tarp and stay dry, then break down the tarp and stuff it in the outside mesh pocket of my pack..no worries. Try pitching a tent in the pouring rain and wind..you usually have to set up the inner first, then put the fly over it..ooops..its gonna get wet in there. Also useing the bivy tarp combo condensation is minimal..if any at all. there are plenty of options for you either way. It took me over 4 years and many nights to get this system for myself and I couldnt be happier. I feel safe and confident every time I go out. My base packweight is at about 5 pounds 6 ounces, minus food and water. In winter it is about 12 lbs..thats with my snowshoes and micro spikes and 10 degree quilt.  It feels great carry minimal weight weight while hiking. The tent/tarp/bivy debate will be endless because everyone uses what works for them, so you too will have to decide. Whatever you do, test it out in your back yard a few nights, clear nights, rainy nights, windy, foggy and snowy nights and then do some short easy overnighters and see how you like it.

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 Post Number: 9
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2014, 11:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My Hennessy Hammock Ultralight Asym model (older) is lighter than my OR Advanced Bivy by a few ounces. That said, I can use my bivy setup year-round without concern of weather (Gore-tex, etc) vs. my hammock which is only a lighter setup until I get near freezing and then becomes more of a pain and too fragile to use effectively in winter when high winds can become too much for my hammock.

My bivy is a "full fledged" model (two pole model) with a bit of headroom for reading during a storm. There's enough room to tuck in my supplies inside during a winter storm, including my backpack but creativity is required. It is definitely not for everyone and claustrophobia and bivies...don't go together.


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Franco Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2014, 8:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

"Try pitching a tent in the pouring rain and wind..you usually have to set up the inner first, then put the fly over it..ooops..its gonna get wet in there. Also useing the bivy tarp combo condensation is minimal..if any at all. there are plenty of options for you either way"

Two very valid points
1) inner pitch first tents can get wet setting them up in the rain
2) condensation from restricted air flow.

As others have pointed out a fully waterproof and somewhat breathable bivy can be havier than a tent and still restrict movement.
However you can get a tent like the Tarptent Notch (27oz if you use trekking poles) or the TT Moment DW (34 oz inc pole) that set up fly and inner together in 2 or 3 minutes then you can use it fully zipped up or with one or both sides open for extra air flow.
Some of course prefer the bivy/tarp solution however particularly where bugs are about a fully zipped up inner that offers sit-up room is not a bat solution particularly when having a fly over it you can pull the panels down in a minute if it does start to rain during the night.
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